Thursday, 15 January 2015

What To Wear On A Long Haul Flight (If You're Me)

Heaven forbid I'd ever dream of giving anyone advice about what to wear! This is my choice, vintage all the way. My travel outfit has to cope with a lot - travelling to the airport in torrential rain and sub zero temperatures, the ferocious a/c on the Air India flight, looking suitably modest for transferring at Delhi and landing in 35 degrees of sunshine 19 hours after leaving home.

Then, after a taxi ride, we'll be wandering the first village that takes our fancy in search of accommodation. So my outfit has to look respectable enough to get us a room in a nice house.

After we've found somewhere to stay, dumped our bags, showered and changed then we'll go and have a sunset dip before feasting on fiery veg curries washed down with a couple of ice cold Kingfisher beers followed by, I imagine, an early night.

As we don't have a base, backpacking around South Goa (and possibly further afield), we've got to travel light and I can't be do with lugging around any excess weight. My holdall weighs in at 12kgs. (My travelling outfit has to earn its keep, so both the dress and fringed wrap will be worn during our trip. I don't bother wearing any make-up, as you can probably tell.

Up until several years ago I travelled in sandals, that was until we transferred at Charles de Gaulle and I had to trudge through 8 inches of snow to board the connecting flight. Never again! These Kurt Geiger beauts were £4.99 from a charity shop back in the Summer (when nobody else wants boots) , they're light enough to chuck in my bag and forget about for a month and easy to kick off when we go through immigration.

In my carry-on bag I've packed my e-reader along with a change of clothes and a bikini just in case our luggage goes astray. Also in there is my jewellery, the dregs of some Vitamin E moisturiser, lip balm, a comb, a hair band, tissues and a sarong to wrap round if I need extra warmth. I'll through my purse, camera and toothbrush in there just before we leave.

After a year of knowing exactly where we're going to be week in and week out I'm so excited about having no plans whatsoever. No room booked, no itinerary, no plan. I'm not even sure whether we'll even stay in Goa. Let the adventure begin!

Vintage Osti maxi (dearest Helga), 1970s fringed wrap (charity shop, 2011), Kurt Geiger boots, Ganesh tote (the lovely Yvonne)
Plenty of jewellery to detract from my scarily naked face.

See you in February!

Monday, 12 January 2015

Stockport Rocks - Life In A Northern Town

What kind of a person dresses in marabou feathers at 5am on a Sunday morning? Me!

It was a bit of a cold one trading at Stockport's Vintage Village yesterday but, with my wool maxi dress, lace body stocking, two pairs of socks, thermal vest & leggings, topped off with a capelet, I was toasty warm.

Wearing: His Xmas present from me (burgundy over-dyed skinnies courtesy of the YMCA), vintage cherry red DMs & merino wool roll neck (both car boot sale buys), 1960s cashmere and wool overcoat (nicked from the rails), wool hat (had forever) Pom Pom (Jon made himself)

Unlike Jon who resorted to wearing the stock.

Our first vintage fair of the year was a blast (and not just an icy one). We were entertained by rockabilly band, The Barracudas, whose set included covers of Echo Beach and the theme to Batman.

Walsall town planners take note, here's a working class market town which has managed to retain its heritage. The Historic Quarter is packed with beautifully restored buildings filled with indie businesses, free houses and cafes. 

As you know we work at a lot of vintage fairs. We're used to girls in red lipstick, victory rolls & repro dresses asking if we've got anything fifties? Stockport shoppers are different, dressed in a mish-mash of eras, they'll rummage our rails and snap up anything that takes their fancy, regardless of decade. They don't attend fairs with a wish-list. They'll buy retro wallpaper, tea cups, deckchairs, clothes and psychedelic trays. Like us, they believe vintage is a lifestyle not a style and we love 'em.

The people who attend, spend. The regulars would rather splurge once a month than shop on the high street. One of my favourites, an auburn-haired glamour puss, showed me her purchases, an immaculate tweed '70s Hardy Amies suit and an embroidered 1960s shift dress, bought for a grand total of £57. What could you get in Marks & Spencer's for £60? She said, A badly made, frumpy dress which would make me look exactly the same as every other woman my age. She bought a fringed suede jerkin in olive green from us last month, she had one in the the 1960s and regretted ever having parted with it.

There's the pretty young lady with cascading curls & retro-framed specs who pattern mixes & colour clashes like a pro. In the past she's bought a red MC's jacket from us and yesterday it was a vintage Aran beret with a pom pom the size of a hamster. After discovering my blog she's vowed to only buy second-hand from now on & I've suggested she starts a blog herself, tracking her progress. There's a real shortage of creative teens who dare to be different. I'd follow her in a heartbeat.

Lisa, a beautiful ex-California girl, who bought a soft-as-butter tooled leather, North African shoulder bag, presented us with a bag of deliciously scented soaps and a bejewelled eyed owl candle she'd made herself. 

A stunning lady with a blonde elfin crop and the cat's head brooch bought a cool 1970s tartan wool midi dress and showed me the sleeping cat tattoo on her forearm. She once left the comment "Pawsome!" on a cat-related blog post, now a regular part of my vocabulary.

Pat & Matthew of A Vintage Affair, our neighbours at the market, presented us a new addition to the poodle parlour as well as a bag of vintage buttons and sewing notions.

 Yes, Stockport is a joy, even with a 5am alarm call and sub-zero temperatures. 

If you've missed Vintage Village then here's their latest venture, the 20th Century Stores, a collective of amazing (and fairly priced) vintage sellers all under one roof. In there you'll find both Tin Trunk Vintage (where I bought my Pucci maxi) and Vintage Village Clothing (where I bought my Annacat waistcoat). If you know what's good for you then you'll jump on a train and get up there.

Here's Snygg's space, isn't it groovy?

To be honest neither of us were much in the mood for work on Sunday but we had a top time and sold enough to keep us in the style we've become accustomed to in Goa for a few weeks. See you in March, Stockport!

Now we've unloaded the van we're officially in holiday mode which kicked off with a boozy lunch in 'Spoons. 

Vintage wool maxi with matching marabou-trimmed capelet (Xmas pressie from my friends at Babouskha Vintage), me-made muff (made from two jumble sale fake fur hats) strung on Great-Grandmother's gold muff chain
See you before we go!

Linking to Patti & the gang for Visible Monday.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Busy Doing Nothing

I haven't been at home in early January for so long that I've forgotten what I'm supposed to be doing.  There's lots I could do, get the stock ready for Vintage Village on Sunday, finish packing, sort out the travel insurance, crack on with the never-ending mending pile, cook and freeze some tasty dishes for our return, plan an itinerary for our trip but the internet keeps distracting me. I've spent so long reading the discussion forums I know more about what's happening in Goa than I do about home.

We had to pop into town earlier this week and, naturally, just had to have a quick look round the chazzas where this groovy tan leather & fake-fur trimmed coat caught my eye. Its not particularly old - possibly from the early '90s when the 1970s had a bit of a revival & Dee-Lite's Groove Is In The Heart was never off the CD player. 

It might be even later, '70s style got hip again after the release of Almost Famous in 2000. 

But who cares? It's my size, it was made in England & cost me a tenner. Besides us Brits spend at least 6 months of the year wearing coats so we might as well have a wide variety.

The sewing machine hasn't been idle. I took the Osti dress I'm wearing in a couple of sizes and my first make of the year was this maxi made using a 1974 pattern and a length of crimplene I bought from Malvern Flea market back in August for £3. Earlier today the postman delivered a pile of vintage patterns from Pam, a lovely blog reader, and I'm inspired to whip up something for my trip (if I can find some suitably groovy fabric in my stash).

Completely changing the subject. One of the reasons for resisting an e-reader for so long was because I thought buying second hand books was far more economical. I imagined e-books to be expensive & that the freebies were either dry old classics or dodgy bootlegs. Wrong! After a random web search a few days ago I discovered Smashwords*, a California-based e-publishing company specialising in indie writers with over 337,000 titles available, almost 50,000 of which are free. I've downloaded 86 books to take away with me with . That beats cramming 26 paperbacks in my backpack! I still read paperbacks at home though, nothing beats a battered old book! 

*No, this isn't a sponsored post. I'm sure you know me well enough by now.
Leather coat, stack heeled boots (£10 and £2, both charity shops),  Dents leather gloves (25p, car boot sale), Vintage Osti maxi dress & bastard massive earrings (Darling Helga), Huge Indian pendant (Vonda), Vintage 70s felt hat (courtesy of Zoe)
I woke in a cold sweat this morning, dreaming that I'd arrived in India having forgotten all my jewellery, I really ought to go and pack it now just in case I do (after I've checked IndiaMike & the Trip Advisor forum!)

See you soon.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Prosthetics & Pom Poms

Nine years ago today my life changed forever. I went into hospital and, a week later, came out with a brand new hip

Since then I've carried this card, which means that when my titanium femur triggers off the alarms I can placate the security guards. If that doesn't work, which is pretty often, after all I'm not what people generally expect hip replacement patients to look like, I simply hitch up my skirt and show them my 6 inch scar. (I always remember to wear a decent pair of knickers when I fly). 

People often talk of invisible illnesses and how frustrating it is that no-one believes they're ill. Whilst it must be annoying , my problem was quite the opposite. For most of my adult life the endless pity drove me mad, I bloody hated it. Strangers stopped their cars to offer me lifts and people old enough to be my grandparents would insist on carrying my shopping home for me or give up their seats on public transport. Far too often I'd overhear She's such an attractive girl, what a shame about that terrible limp. Being the centre of attention isn't any fun if it's your disability, rather than you, in the spotlight.

My arthritis plays up when it's cold so, between Boxing Day and New Year's Day, I indulged in a bit of pom pom therapy and made this, a winter alternative to a feather boa. Creativity is far more effective (and better for your liver) than popping pills.

I used Xmas cards as templates. The wool was a combination of charity shop finds and Poundland deals. 

Wearing: Annacat leatherette waistcoat (Vintage Village Clothing, Stockport), 1970s Art Nouveau print maxi (Second To None, Walsall), velvet boots (Office sale, 2012,  pom pom boa (me!)

Ta-dah! Everything's better with pom poms.....

Including the mantelpiece in the dining room. These pom poms are from Poundland*, strung on fishing wire.

*No, this isn't a sponsored post. I spent £3 of my own money!
Wearing: Vintage Kriss of San Francisco patchwork maxi & Indian pom pom head-dress (Krista-licious), 1980s suede boots, 1970s suede jacket (vintage kilo sale)
Bloody hell, looking at these photos I don't half need a tan, I look like the undead. Never mind, just over a week to go until I get some much needed Goan sunshine. 

Glad you enjoyed the New Year video but I've gotta set you straight, half of those records were mine! 

See you soon.

Friday, 2 January 2015

Spy Story (& Some Disgraceful Behaviour)

As we've spent much of the past week gripped to the vintage BBC espionage dramas Tinker Tailor, Soldier, Spy & Smiley's People I was pleased to find a mac of the same era in my favourite charity clearance shop a couple of days ago. There's no attire more fitting for a wannabe spy than a belted raincoat (although with its massive collars and dip-dyed skirt this one probably wouldn't have helped Alec Guinness blend in with the crowd.)

Made by Miss Dannimac it didn't take a lot of intelligence to work out the vintage, the dry cleaning label from 1974 was still attached.

 Here's Twiggy modelling a splendid yellow mac for the same label back in the 1960s. 

As you know, every good spy has a dark secret and here's mine. I often don't wear any clothes under my coats.

My Tits Ahoy* bikini I bought from Second To None when the bloggers took Walsall by storm a couple of months ago.  

*Blame that minx, Curtise.

I'm a shameless hussy, me and a new year ain't going to change a thing. I predict a 2015 filled with bikinis, overly bright make-up, booze and unsuitable shoes.

We threw a New Year's Day party for the gang (New Year's Eve parties are so last year). This was us at 2am this morning after everyone had gone home and Jon got the vinyl out. The tune is Only Love Will Break Your Heart by St Etienne, the dress is Ossie Clark and the liquid refreshment by Smirnoff. God knows what we're doing.  Step away from the vodka, kids.

Vintage 70s Miss Dannimac raincoat (£1, charity clearance shop - I could reveal my source but then I'd have to kill you), white leather go-go boots (the divine Emma-Kate)
Wishing all my friends, real and virtual, a very Happy New Year!

See you soon.